This Barbera from one of Piedmont's oldest wineries is a lovely surprise: full and deep in flavor, with notes of plum, spice and chocolate. It shows elegance and balance. The wine, vivid and food-friendly, is aged in a combination of large oak casks and, for the last few months, smaller French oak barrels.
Barbera's bright acidity means it works well with salumi and sausages. It's a great pasta wine too, and wouldn't say no to a roast chicken or some grilled pork chops.
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Price: About $20
Style: Bright and chiseled.
What it goes with: Salumi, braised beef, pasta with meat sauce, hearty soups, mushroom dishes
Where to find it: Duck Blind Fine Wines, Beers and Spirits in Santa Monica, (310) 394-6705, www.duckblindfinewines.com; Gelson's markets at various locations; Mission Wine & Spirits in Pasadena, (626) 794-7026, and Glendale, (818) 242-0683, www.missionwineandspirits.com; Westridge Midtown Market in Ojai, (805) 646-4082.